Baptist Operation Outreach Helps the Homeless in Priceless Ways
At Baptist Memorial Health Care, giving back to the Mid-South community is one of our biggest priorities. We aim to do this in a variety of ways, but one of our largest efforts is Baptist Operation Outreach, a joint program with Christ Community Health Services.
Baptist Operation Outreach is a mobile clinic for the homeless that operates five days per week. “We primarily service the homeless with medical care, but if other services are needed like surgeries, dental, or eye health, we help coordinate,” said Ann Marie Wallace, System Community Outreach Coordinator for Baptist. “We also have a social worker who helps with things that might be needed, including housing and health insurance for those who are eligible.”
All of these services are provided completely free of charge – even the medications. If someone comes to the mobile clinic with hypertension or diabetes, they are able to receive the medication they need without having to worry about the cost.
How Mid-South Community Members Can Help
As the weather gets colder and the holidays approach, Baptist employees and members of the community can donate to the Baptist Operation Outreach Tree of Faith, Hope, and Love. “We collect unisex thermals, hats, scarves, gloves, dark socks, and toiletries. We put them in a backpack and plan for about 300 of our homeless to come to a luncheon we host each year,” said Ann Marie. “Baptist employees have the opportunity to donate items, make a donation to the Baptist Foundation, help with packing backpacks, or volunteer to serve food at the luncheon.”
Over the years, the Baptist Operation Outreach program has been able to provide the Mid-South homeless community with valuable services. In return, volunteers have witnessed many rewarding stories.
“I think to have one of our employees who works at Baptist Operation Outreach be a former patient who is now a patient advocate that is gainfully employed, working, and helping with our ministry is a powerful story,” said Ann Marie. “There was also a woman who was being abused and came into our clinic. She was a longtime patient and came in with broken legs – even though she was being seen for something else. The nurse encouraged her to make a decision and she did. We were able to call the police and the boyfriend who was abusing her was obtained by the police in the parking lot. She was put into services and transferred to a different city so she could start her life over again.”
If you’d like to give to Baptist Operation Outreach, to help us continue offering these services to the homeless community free of charge, you can do so by visiting the Baptist Foundation website or dropping off items at the Baptist Corporate Office before December 13th, 2016.